10. Gubra (Yasmin Ahmad)
Honestly, I don't get all the hate towards this film. I honestly don't. When other local films are portraying devout muslims(berserban, berjubah, etc) as terrorists or extremists, nobody said a thing (I'm looking at youse Misi 1511, Perempuan Melayu Terakhir, Berlari Ke Langit, Syaitan, etc). When in come a Bilal whose *only* fault is petting a dog (And also according to many for befriending a prostitute), all hell breaks loose. And about the so-called "ideology"? "Get a grip on r.e.a.l.i.t.y.", that's all I'm saying. Anyway Gubra is far from a flawless film, but its merits are enough for me to put it on the list.
9. The Prestige (Christopher Nolan)
A terrifically entertaining movie, and substantially superior than its "competition" The Illusionist. The rather 'messy' third act doesn't detract from the overall excitement. And Nolan is a genius in conjuring up a movie about magic, that is a magic trick all on its own.
8. The Departed (Martin Scorsese)
Martin Scorsese's remake of Infernal Affairs really improved a lot on subsequent viewings. Now I really think that it's a little better than IA due to its details, depth and character-driven plot. And the script(dialogues) is the best 2006 has to offer(or even the best since a few years). Highly entertaining, and highly rewatchable. Scorsese's most accessable film to date.
7. United 93 (Paul Greengrass)
Contrary to pre-assumptions, for me United 93 is an unbiased, unjudgmental, and unsentimentalized account of the tragedy that befell flight 93 in 9/11. And I respect this kind of filmmaking, especially for a film that could easily be pro-American. If anything the movie criticizes the American government itself. Both the passengers and the terrorists are portrayed as "humans", not cut-and-dry heroes and villains. And I accept the film as a half-fact, half-fictional account of that day. It's possible that everything that transpires "inside" the plane are not accurate, but it's also a possibility that it is. Probably there are no 'terrorists' at all. These are all assumptions. And I accept this one as one of the possibilities. The movie's a thoroughly engrossing watch, and it deserves to be on the list for that final, heartwrenching crash sequence.
6. The Road To Guantanamo (Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross)
Easily one of, if not the most important film of the year. This docu-drama follows the experiences of three British Muslims who are mistakenly captured in Afghanistan, and transported to the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison. Michael Winterbottom is probably the most versatile filmmaker, with films of various genres under his belt.
5. The Proposition (John Hillcoat)
I never really liked the Western genre before this. Now I do. The Proposition is *far more* than just another take on the tired ol' genre. It's as brutal and unflinching as the best of Sam Peckinpah or Sergio Leone, but defies tradition and revitalizes the genre to new heights. Ironically this 'Western' film is not even set in the good ol' Texas, it's set in the Australian outback.
4. Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan (Larry Charles)
As Borat Sagdyiev would say, "Very Niiice!"
3. Volver (Pedro Almodovar)
Pedro Almodovar, Penelope Cruz, and Carmen Maura are back together again. And the result is quite obvious.
2. Pan's Labyrinth @ El Laberinto Del Fauno (Guillermo Del Toro)
One of the best fantasy films ever. Forget Harry Potter or even Lord Of The Rings. *This* is what "fantasy" is all about. Highly imaginative creations that you have *never* seen before. It's an adult-oriented film, but never forgets its 'childlike' roots.
1. Children Of Men (Alfonso Cuaron)
A resounding accomplishment in almost every regard. Maybe it's even the best film since 2 or 3 years ago, if I may be so bold. My jaw dropped from start to finish of sheer amazement. And I only watched the movie on my PC. Imagine if I were to watch it on the big screen. haihh
Honorable Mentions: Inside Man, Little Miss Sunshine, A Scanner Darkly, A Prairie Home Companion, Thank You For Smoking, Half Nelson, L'Enfant, Casino Royale, Brick, Three Times, Happy Feet, Dave Chappelle's Block Party, 13: Tzameti, Cinta
Most Disappointing Films (not worst): Miami Vice, Superman Returns, Babel, The Queen, Little Children, X-Men 3, Cars
Worst Films: Pirates Of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest, The Da Vinci Code, Dragon Tiger Gate, Flags Of Our Fathers, Nana Tanjung (yeah I DID watch it. About 15 minutes of it. Probably even the most painful experience of the year.)
Need To See: Letters From Iwo Jima, The Fountain, Inland Empire, Perfume, The Last King Of Scotland